The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has disclosed the death of Urbana in the 5th at Churchill September 17:

“[multiple] fractures; massive soft tissue damage, including transection of the medial digital vein, artery, and nerve – euthanized on the ambulance”; also: “focal hemorrhage [in] right lung, extensive ulceration of stomach”

Urbana was three; ’twas her 6th time under the whip.

Through a FOIA request to the Maryland Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at that state’s tracks in 2020. It should be noted that in the wake of Santa Anita, Maryland began releasing much more detail. Because these details, including vet testimony, are so powerful (and damning), I will post in multiple installments so as to give each death its proper due.

As always, please consider contacting Maryland politicians and media. Nothing as entrenched as horseracing will change without unrelenting pressure. The message need not be long; in fact, shorter is better – e.g., “Horseracing is animal cruelty, no different than dogracing, which has been banned on moral grounds in 41 states.” Then, copy and paste this list (and the other Maryland reports). Thank you.

Governor Hogan: contact form; twitter; instagram
Senate Majority Leader King: nancy.king@senate.state.md.us; 410-841-3686
House Speaker Jones: adrienne.jones@house.state.md.us; 410-841-3800
Senate members
House members

The Baltimore Sun: newstips@baltimoresun.com; 410-332-6100
ABC Baltimore: newsroom@wmar.com; 410-435-TIPS
CBS Baltimore: 410-578-7568
NBC Baltimore: newstips@wbaltv.com; 800-677-WBAL
Fox Baltimore: news@foxbaltimore.com; 410-467-5595

Yukon Eric, Jan 3, Pimlico T – “horse pulled up and appeared to be exhausted…fell to the track and died – apparent heart attack”; also: “stomach: acute ulcers – presumptive stress” (two years old)

Esterina, Jan 26, Laurel R – “[multiple] severe, open fractures with severe associated hemorrhage”; also: “chronic cartilage damage; chronic degenerative joint disease all four fetlocks; stomach: acute hemorrhage, chronic ulcers” (three years old)

Dr. Daniel (commission vet): “The LH pastern was obviously fractured and I could see blood soaking through the rear bandage at lateral mid cannon bone. I euthanized…once Esterina was deceased, I palpated the LH leg and discovered both sesamoids displaced, P1 had comminuted fractures, and the lateral condyle was indeed fractured. There was also blood soaking through the bandage on the RF [different leg] ankle.”

Pickle Back, Jan 31, Pimlico T (euthanized Feb 3) – “comminuted knee fracture”

Dr. Meittinis (private vet): “Gerry [Brooks, owner/trainer] told Jared to have me inject the knees the first day he came from the farm. The knee was huge, but cold and tight, and he was sound. He wanted to inject anyway, so I did. The horse returned bad from first work off the layoff. Gerry was out of town and wanted to give the horse a few days to see if it [italics added] would sound up some. Gerry got back on Feb 3 and made decision to euthanize because she was still really lame.”

Birdies Honor, Feb 8, Laurel R – “finished the race…suddenly the horse collapsed and died – presumptive heart attack”; also: “chronic degenerative joint disease in distal limbs; chronic synovitis both carpal joints and both front fetlocks” (four years old)

Dr. Daniel (commission vet): “It was determined after his death that he had been taking Thyro-L, a supplement for hypothyroidism. This horse was placed on this supplement without my approval…I would not have approved this supplement as Birdie’s Honor did not fit the clinical picture for hypothyroidism. I am concerned that this supplementation may have contributed to the death of Birdie’s Honor.”

Major Flirt, Feb 15, Laurel R – “fracture/dislocation of fetlock; comminuted, displaced sesamoid fractures; soft tissue damage; [torn] ligaments”; also: “chronic gastric ulcer”

Donald Barr (trainer): “Tough loss.”

Supercross, Mar 18, Pimlico T – “ran into a wall and died”

Dr. Meittinis (private vet): “The horse died on his own from head trauma before I could get there.”

The Magical One, Jun 20, Laurel R – “complete, displaced fractures and soft tissue rupture – vanned off and euthanized”

Irish Crossing, Aug 22, Laurel R – “broke down near 3/8 pole, in significant pain and trying to lie down, limb knuckling and dropped; three major fractures of left scapula, approximately 15 fragments; severed biceps; copious amount of hemorrhage – euthanized on track”; “jockey stated horse was nervous prior to the start of the race”

Polar Bear Pete, Sep 10, Laurel R – “five fractures, multiple pieces; presumed traumatic avulsion; intramuscular hemorrhage”; also: “acute gastric ulcers – acute stress; chronic degenerative joint disease all four fetlocks” (three years old)

One Fat Kat, Sep 18, Laurel R – “both [sesamoids] shattered with associated hemorrhage and ligament damage – euthanized on track”; also: “chronic degenerative joint disease [all four fetlocks]” (four years old)

Dr. Daniel (commission vet): “Filly was very reluctant to come to the paddock [before start of race].”

Through a FOIA request to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture, I have confirmed the following kills at that state’s tracks in 2020 (this is part 2, part 1 here). Please note, however, that for the vast majority, immediate causes of death were not disclosed. (Where possible, I have supplemented with notes from the race charts.) In fact, information-wise, this is the thinnest disclosure I’ve yet received from PA – certainly a far cry from the detail-laden 2016 report. Why? Well, here’s their explanation: “Your request is granted in part and denied in part. Pursuant to 7 Pa. Code ยง407.3 (f) of the Commission’s regulations, necropsy reports are deemed investigatory documents. Therefore, necropsy reports have been withheld as they are exempt from disclosure by law.” Nonsense, of course. In any event, here is what I do have:

Iwon’tbedenied, Jan 7, Parx S – “colic”

Diagonal, Mar 7, Parx R (euthanized Mar 12) – “injury, euthanized”

Lay It On the Line, Mar 31, Parx S – “degenerative arthritis” (just four years old)

Mr. My Way, Jun 13, Parx T – “injury, euthanized”

Zero the Hero, Jul 3, Meadows T – “acute vascular hemorrhage”

Golden Chance, Jul 3, Penn R – “pulled up lame”

Micro Margarita, Jul 7, Parx T – “injury, euthanized”

Dereya, Jul 7, Parx R – “twisted colon [post race]” (chart said “fractious in gate”)

Fratello Del Nord, Jul 17, Parx S – “right hock displacement” (had been raced 55 times)

Bourbon Honey, Jul 17, Parx S – “chronic osteoarthritis in fetlock” (just six years old)

Telling You Twice, Jul 21, Penn S – “lameness”

Weed Wacker, Jul 27, Presque Isle T (euthanized Aug 12) – “injury, euthanized”

Copper Rain, Jul 29, Pocono R – “sudden death”

Doctor McSwing, Jul 31, Harrah’s R – “sudden death”

Trusty Roll, Aug 6, Presque Isle T – “injury, euthanized”

Can American, Aug 7, Presque Isle T – “injury, euthanized”

Billy’s Jump Start, Aug 12, Parx T – “injury [not euthanized, just died]”

One Honey Bell (possibly sic), Aug 16, Presque Isle S – “injury, euthanized”

Heraway, Aug 26, Parx R – “suffered a catastrophic injury”

Sir Elton, Aug 27, Parx T – “injury, euthanized”

Sweet Lullaby, Sep 2, Meadows S – “unknown [not euthanized, just died]”

Geleta, Sep 2, Parx T – “injury, euthanized”

Happyandiknowit, Sep 4, Penn R – “suffered catastrophic injury, fell, euthanized”

Make ‘Em Smokey, Sep 12, Penn T – “injury, euthanized”

Anxious, Sep 16, Parx T – “injury, euthanized”

Won and Done, Sep 19, Parx S – “laminitis post-surgery”

Thisonesfordougie, Sep 24, Presque Isle R – “clipped heels, fell”

Natasha Fatale, Sep 29, Parx S – “pneumonia [not euthanized, just died]”

Dynamic Dynasty, Oct 5, Parx R – “injury, euthanized”

Louis the Sixtieth, Oct 7, Parx T – “injury, euthanized”

Field Reality, Oct 12, Presque Isle R – “injury, euthanized”

Relentless Albert, Oct 14, Presque Isle R – “injury, euthanized”

Ms Purlin’s Musket, Oct 20, Parx T – “injury, euthanized”

Best Bud, Oct 21, Presque Isle R – “injury, euthanized”

Millies Party Boy, Oct 30, Penn R – “vanned off lame, euthanized” (after “winning”)

Tootsie Jones, Nov 6, Parx T – “injury, euthanized”

Kitty in the Woods, Nov 14, Penn T – “injury, euthanized”

Barcode, Nov 16, Parx R – “suffered a catastrophic injury”

Bearing Secrets, Nov 23, Parx R – “suffered an injury leaving the backstretch”

Snowy Morning, Dec 4, Penn R – “pulled up lame”

Whizzer, Dec 8, Parx T – “sudden death” (two years old)

Bioness, Dec 15, Meadows S – “unknown illness [not euthanized, just died]”

In the grand scheme of things, it is a minor deception. I mean compared to “The Big Lie” – horseracing as sport – this hardly registers. But it merits mention nonetheless. Sealy Hill was a hugely successful racehorse – over $1.7 million “earnings,” one-time “Horse of the Year,” “Hall of Famer” – and later, a lucrative breeding machine. She died Tuesday from what industry mouthpiece BloodHorse is calling “infirmities as she advanced in age.” The Paulick Report was less subtle: “euthanized due to the infirmities of old age.” So exactly how old was this poor animal? All of 16. That’s 16 – or what should be the prime of equine life. Vile.